The Cross River State Government has raised an alarm over poor electricity supply in the state from the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, saying the development was threatening public water supply as the State-owned Water Board Limited spends an average of N150 million monthly on diesel and few other things to enable it run its water stations.
Speaking with some newsmen in Calabar, the Managing Director of the State Water Board Limited, Chief Victor Ekpo, said the development was frustrating government’s efforts as regards water supply as such appealed to the federal government to step in.
“We had issue of damaged transformers and wrote to PHED to replace but that has not been done and the governor, Senator Ben Ayade provided us with two new transformers but they still refused to connect us. I wish to appeal to the federal government and the Minister of State on Power to intervene for PHED to give us power in most of our facilities in the state.
“Some agencies of the state donated some transformers to Akamkpa and they refused to connect us. We want to appeal to the federal government to convince them to connect the Water Board for the sake of the people of Akamkpa, Ikom and other places so that we can supply water to the people. They are suffering and dying because of water challenges. This action is frustrating the people of the state, the Water Board Limited and the State government.
“We are running all our outlets with AGO (diesel). In Calabar metropolis instead of 24 hours we are doing 10 hours of water supply daily. We run Intigidi, Okpoma, Obubra, Obudu and Ogoja outstations for now with generators. We do not owe in these stations except in Calabar that we owe.
“We have a dedicated line with PHED so that if there is any power failure we can turn on our generator at water intake but to my greatest surprise we discovered that they disconnected the Water Board from the dedicated line. We are running different generators which cost us about 3,300 litres of diesel per hour. So if you are running 10 hours a day it means that you are running 33, 000 litres for the people to have access to potable water.
“So in a day, it costs the Water Board about N4 million to run water in Calabar metropolis alone and holistically we spend about N5 million a day to run water in the entire state. We buy chemicals for water treatment, diesel for all the stations and cost of general maintenance and this is quite expensive.
“We want the Federal Government to give us a waiver in electricity supply in the state in respect of water Board facilities so that Cross River state will be able to improve water in the entire state especially in the face of the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic,” he submitted.